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Playoff Extra: Wild Card Weekend Rankings

Senior Fantasy Writer
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We've already given you a strategy to help set your lineup for the Playoff Challenge. Now here are some playoff rankings with a look at who to start and sit for the Wild Card round, featuring Indianapolis at Baltimore, Cincinnati at Houston, Seattle at Washington and Minnesota at Green Bay.

The rankings are for the entire postseason, and we will update them each week throughout the playoffs.

Editor's note: The units listed after each player's name is the value assigned to each player in the CBSSports.com Playoff Challenge.

Quarterbacks

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1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers -- 82 units
2. Peyton Manning, Broncos -- 80 units
3. Tom Brady, Patriots -- 81 units
4. Matt Ryan, Falcons -- 74 units
5. Russell Wilson, Seahawks -- 66 units
6. Colin Kaepernick, 49ers -- 62 units
7. Joe Flacco, Ravens -- 61 units
8. Robert Griffin III, Redskins -- 71 units
9. Matt Schaub, Texans -- 64 units
10. Andy Dalton, Bengals -- 44 units
11. Andrew Luck, Colts -- 63 units
12. Christian Ponder, Vikings -- 38 units

Wild Card Weekend

Starts: Rodgers, Wilson, Flacco
Sits: Griffin, Schaub, Dalton, Luck, Ponder
Rodgers is clearly the best quarterback this week. He is getting hot at the right time with 11 total touchdowns in his past three games with no interceptions and an average of 333 passing yards over that span. In Week 17 at Minnesota he had 365 passing yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. ... Wilson was a Top 12 Fantasy passer in eight of his final nine games and scored at least 23 Fantasy points in three road games at Miami, Chicago and Buffalo. ... Flacco had at least 18 Fantasy points in three of his final four home games. ... Griffin is facing a Seahawks defense that has allowed just one quarterback to score more than 17 Fantasy points since Week 8, and Griffin has just two games with more than 19 Fantasy points since Week 7. ... Schaub has three games in his past four without a touchdown pass and has one game with more than 16 Fantasy points since Week 11. ... Since Mohammed Sanu (foot) got hurt in Week 12, Dalton hasn't had more than 16 Fantasy points. He's missing a third receiving option after A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham, and it shows. ... Like Griffin, Luck has struggled to close the season with just two games with more than 19 Fantasy points since Week 9. He's also facing a Ravens defense that has allowed just one quarterback to score more than 15 Fantasy points since Week 10, including matchups with both Manning brothers. ... Ponder just had 28 Fantasy points against the Packers in Week 17, but he had eight points at Green Bay in Week 13 and can't be trusted.

Running Backs

1. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos -- 60 units
2. Stevan Ridley, Patriots -- 63 units
3. Arian Foster, Texans -- 68 units
4. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks -- 67 units
5. Ray Rice, Ravens -- 65 units
6. Frank Gore, 49ers -- 59 units
7. Adrian Peterson, Vikings -- 69 units
8. Alfred Morris, Redskins -- 57 units
9. DuJuan Harris, Packers -- 7 units
10. Michael Turner, Falcons -- 54 units
11. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals -- 53 units
12. Danny Woodhead, Patriots -- 35 units
13. Vick Ballard, Colts -- 42 units
14. Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons -- 41 units
15. Bernard Pierce, Ravens -- 24 units
16. Ben Tate, Texans -- 23 units
17. Ryan Grant, Packers -- 19 units
18. LaMichael James, 49ers -- 9 units
19. Willis McGahee, Broncos -- 38 units
20. Alex Green, Packers -- 33 units
21. Shane Vereen, Patriots -- 24 units
22. Ronnie Hillman, Broncos -- 16 units
23. Jason Snelling, Falcons -- 10 units
24. James Starks, Packers -- 32 units
25. Brian Leonard, Bengals -- 2 units
26. Cedric Peerman, Bengals -- 16 units
27. Brandon Bolden, Patriots -- 24 units
28. Robert Turbin, Seahawks -- 23 units
29. Delone Carter, Colts -- 12 units
30. James Casey, Texans -- 14 units

Wild Card Weekend

Starts: Peterson, Foster, Rice, Lynch, Morris, Harris, Green-Ellis
Sits: Ballard and all the backups
In two games against the Packers since Week 13, Peterson has 55 carries for 409 yards and two touchdowns and two catches for 12 yards and a touchdown. If the Vikings can pull off the upset and Peterson gets into the Divisional round of the playoffs then anyone who used him has a good chance of winning. ... Foster had double digits in Fantasy points in all but one game this year with 17 total touchdowns. Last year against the Bengals in the Wild Card round -- with T.J. Yates at quarterback -- he had 24 carries for 153 yards and two touchdowns and three catches for 29 yards. ... Rice gets a Colts defense that has allowed 15 touchdowns to opposing running backs and 14 to reach double digits in Fantasy points, including one in each of the past three games. ... Lynch has five games in a row with double digits in Fantasy points and nine of his past 10, and the Redskins have allowed a running back to reach double digits in Fantasy points in six of their past seven outings. ... Morris has double digits in Fantasy points in each of his past six games and has at least 20 carries in each of his past seven outings. There were five running backs with at least 16 carries against the Seahawks this year and five reached double digits in Fantasy points. ... Harris is a sneaky sleeper since he has at least eight Fantasy points in three of his past four games, including 14 carries for 70 yards and two catches for 17 yards against the Vikings in Week 17. The Packers don't have a true running back, but he's worth the gamble based on his price. ... Green-Ellis is risky with his hamstring at less than 100 percent, but the Texans have allowed five touchdowns to running backs since Week 12 with five reaching double digits in Fantasy points. ... Ballard has double digits in Fantasy points in four of his past five games, but he has just two touchdowns over that span. The Ravens also get Ray Lewis (triceps) back, which should help their leaky run defense.

Wide Receivers

1. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos -- 48 units
2. Eric Decker, Broncos -- 46 units
3. Wes Welker, Patriots -- 48 units
4. Greg Jennings, Packers -- 39 units
5. Roddy White, Falcons -- 46 units
6. Julio Jones, Falcons -- 45 units
7. Andre Johnson, Texans -- 45 units
8. Michael Crabtree, 49ers -- 37 units
9. James Jones, Packers -- 40 units
10. Randall Cobb, Packers -- 44 units
11. A.J. Green, Bengals -- 43 units
12. Jordy Nelson, Packers -- 41 units
13. Torrey Smith, Ravens -- 36 units
14. Pierre Garcon, Redskins -- 35 units
15. Brandon Lloyd, Patriots -- 39 units
16. Reggie Wayne, Colts -- 39 units
17. Anquan Boldin, Ravens -- 29 units
18. Golden Tate, Seahawks -- 32 units
19. Sidney Rice, Seahawks -- 34 units
20. T.Y. Hilton, Colts -- 26 units
21. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks -- 24 units
22. Randy Moss, 49ers -- 23 units
23. Santana Moss, Redskins -- 18 units
24. Brandon Stokley, Broncos -- 24 units
25. Donnie Avery, Colts -- 22 units
26. Jacoby Jones, Ravens -- 9 units
27. Marvin Jones, Bengals -- 10 units
28. Andrew Hawkins, Bengals -- 8 units
29. Kevin Walter, Texans -- 13 units
30. Jarius Wright, Vikings -- 11 units

Wild Card Weekend

Starts: Jennings, Johnson, Jones, Cobb, Green, Nelson, Smith, Wayne
Sits: Garcon, Boldin, Tate, Rice, Hilton
I like all the Packers receivers this week, but Jennings just scored twice against Minnesota in Week 17. He was also targeted a team-high 12 times and now has seven touchdowns in his past five meetings with the Vikings. Cobb is expected to be fine for the playoffs despite missing Week 17 with ankle and knee injuries, and he finished the season with double digits in Fantasy points in seven of his final 11 games. Jones has six touchdowns in his final five games, including one in each game against the Vikings in Week 13 and 17. Nelson returned from a three-game absence with a hamstring injury against the Vikings in Week 17 and had three catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. ... Johnson had at least 95 receiving yards in seven of his final nine games. He had five catches for 90 yards and a touchdown last year against the Bengals in the playoffs. ... Green faces a Texans defense that has allowed nine receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points since Week 10. He was held to five catches for 47 yards at Houston in the playoffs last year and should be looking for some revenge. ... Smith has seven touchdowns at home this year, and No. 1 receivers have done serious damage against the Colts with 12 reaching double digits in Fantasy points. ... Wayne is facing a Ravens defense that has allowed a receiver to score in five of their past six games, and he has double digits in Fantasy points in three of his past six games. ... Garcon has gone three games in a row with single digits in Fantasy points and is facing the best secondary in the NFL with Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, who is eligible to return from his four-game suspension this week. ... Boldin is dealing with a shoulder injury, which caused him to miss Week 17. He's risky because he had six games with double digits in Fantasy points in 2012 but also six games with four points or less. ... Hilton is better indoors than outdoors. On grass this year he has just one touchdown and is averaging 14.7 yards per catch compared to 17.5 yards indoors. ... Figuring out the Seattle receivers is like solving the fiscal cliff. There were only three times this year where Rice and Tate reached double digits in Fantasy points at the same time, and it happened just once on the road at Chicago in Week 13.

Tight Ends

1. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots -- 44 units
2. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots -- 37 units
3. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons -- 39 units
4. Dennis Pitta, Ravens -- 32 units
5. Jermichael Finley, Packers -- 22 units
6. Delanie Walker, 49ers -- 16 units
7. Joel Dreessen, Broncos -- 23 units
8. Jacob Tamme, Broncos -- 23 units
9. Owen Daniels, Texans -- 30 units
10. Jermaine Gresham, Bengals -- 82 units
11. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings -- 17 units
12. Vernon Davis, 49ers -- 15 units

Wild Card Weekend

Starts: Pitta, Gresham, Finley, Rudolph
Sits: Daniels
Pitta has four games with double digits in Fantasy points at home this year and has scored three touchdowns in his past four home games. ... Gresham is facing a Texans defense that has allowed five touchdowns to tight ends in the past four games. ... Finley had two of his best games this season against the Vikings with six catches for 60 yards on seven targets in Week 13 and eight catches for 72 yards on nine targets in Week 17. ... Rudolph had a touchdown in Week 13 against Green Bay, and the key for Rudolph is targets. He has nine games this season with at least six targets, and he's scored in seven of those games. ... Daniels has more than four Fantasy points just once since Week 11, and the Bengals have not allowed a tight end to score since Week 9.

Kickers

1. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots -- 32 units
2. Matt Prater, Broncos -- 31 units
3. Matt Bryant, Falcons -- 30 units
4. Mason Crosby, Packers -- 28 units
5. David Akers/Billy Cundiff, 49ers -- 30 units
6. Shayne Graham, Texans -- 30 units
7. Justin Tucker, Ravens -- 27 units
8. Steven Hauschka, Seahawks -- 26 units
9. Kai Forbath, Redskins -- 17 units
10. Josh Brown, Bengals -- 15 units
11. Blair Walsh, Vikings -- 27 units
12. Adam Vinatieri, Colts -- 26 units

Wild Card Weekend

Starts: Crosby, Graham, Tucker, Vinatieri, Walsh
Sits: Forbath, Hauschka, Brown

Defense/Special Teams

1. Broncos -- 36 units
2. Seahawks -- 32 units
3. 49ers -- 37 units
4. Patriots -- 35 units
5. Packers -- 82 units
6. Falcons -- 30 units
7. Texans -- 35 units
8. Ravens -- 30 units
9. Bengals -- 32 units
10. Colts -- 21 units
11. Redskins -- 21 units
12. Vikings -- 24 units

Wild Card Weekend

Starts: Seahawks, Ravens, Packers
Sits: Texans, Bengals, Colts, Redskins, Vikings

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Vikings CB Terence Newman has familiarity with Mike Zimmer
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Vikings cornerback Terence Newman won't have a steep learning curve now that he's with his new team. 

Newman played under Vikings coach Mike Zimmer when he was the defensive coordinator with the Cowboys. Drafted in 2003, Newman learned Zimmer's defense from his rookie season through 2006, before Zimmer left to take the same position with the Falcons. 

“I just know exactly what to expect from him as a coach, as well as everybody else in this locker room,” Newman told the Vikings' website. “You play your best football under him.”

In his career, Newman has recorded 741 tackles and 37 interceptions. Entering his 13th NFL year, Newman has already impressed his teammates with voluntary workouts underway. 

“I met with him and he seemed like a great guy,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. “Like he’s going to come in and teach us what we need to know about the technique of the game and about the defense because he’s been in it before, so he’s going to help us out a lot. He’s a big asset to this team and the defense.”


Chiefs pick up option on NT Dontari Poe
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Chiefs have exercised their fifth-year option on two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Dontari Poe, per NFL.com. He is set in Kansas City through 2016, when he will earn $6.146 million.

The 350-pound Poe has earned the money. He racked up six sacks and contributed to 46 tackles in 2014.


Lions GM Mayhew OK with James Ihedigbo skipping workouts
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Safety James Ihedigbo was the lone absence from voluntary workouts this week for the Lions. But general manager Martin Mayhew understands. After all, Ihedigbo's agent has stated that he would not work without a new contract.

"I look forward to talking with James," Mayhew told ESPN. "I understand what he's going through. I've been through that myself as a player, when I felt that a time in my career that I was underpaid and I had to deal with that.

"So I have empathy for him. I understand what he's going through and I look forward to sitting down and talking with him. I have great respect for him as a player, as a man. I've gotten to know him a little bit away from football and I understand how he feels."

Mayhew declined to discuss whether the Liins will rework Ihedigbo's contract.

The 31-year-old Ihedigbo contributed 71 tackles and two sacks with a career-high four interceptions in 2014 despite missing three games at the start of the year with a nerve injury. He earned Pro Bowl alternate status.


Eagles withdraw qualifying offer to RB Chris Polk
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Running back Chris Polk is now a free agent. 

According to the NFL transaction wire, the Eagles rescinded their $1.6 million tender they offered this past March. The Eagles placed the tender on Polk, previously a restricted free agent, before signing both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews in free agency. 

With Darren Sproles on the roster, it didn't make much sense for Polk to stay with the Eagles. 

In 2014, Polk ran for 172 yards and four touchdowns. 


RB Bobby Rainey signs qualifying offer with Buccaneers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Buccaneers have announced that running back Bobby Rainey has signed a one-year qualifying offer the team extended to him before the free agency period. He was a restricted free agent and was given an opportunity to negotiate with other teams.

Rainey will compete for playing time with Tampa Bay. He rushed for 406 yards in 2014, but faded at the end of the season with just two carries in the last six games combined.


Jaguars planning to play 2015 season without Justin Blackmon
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) As far as the Jaguars are concerned, Justin Blackmon will not be lining up at receiver for them this season. 

At least that's the approach Jacksonville is taking. Blackmon has been indefinitely suspended since Nov. 1 2013 for three violations of the substance-abuse policy under the old CBA.

"Our process hasn't changed," Caldwell said, via ESPN.com. "[We] plan to go without him, but if he emerges, he emerges, and he's going to go in with those top guys and compete with those other guys. Hopefully we're able to get some news, but if not we weren't planning on [having Blackmon]. We're just going to go [without him]."

Before he can re-join the Jaguars, he'll need to file an application for reinstatement, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell making a decision within a 60-day window. The application letter would include details of the treatment he's received. 

Since being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Blackmon has only played in 20 games. He has 1,280 yards and six touchdowns in his career. 


Cowboys' Greg Hardy called 'woman beater' by teammate
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy got into an altercation with teammate Davon Coleman during a voluntary offseason workout, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports

Hardy reportedly questioned Coleman's work ethic during a conditioning drill, which led Coleman to call Hardy a "woman beater."

Hardy was accused of domestic abuse and was found guilty by a North Carolina judge. On the subsequent appeal, prosecutors dropped charges against Hardy and the case was never presented in front of a jury. 

Hardy has been suspended by the NFL for 10 games due to what transpired in that case. According to FOX Sports, the confrontation between Hardy and Coleman remained verbal


Lions and Rob Sims' representation haven't spoken in 3 weeks
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Lions need a left guard and Rob Sims would be a solid option if the two sides can strike a deal for the veteran to return. 

However, talks have stalled between the Lions' front office and Sims' representation. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said it's been nearly a month since he's spoken to Sims' camp. 

"We've had some discussion with Rob," Mayhew said, via MLive.com. "I spoke to his agent probably about three weeks ago and we had an offer out to him. That's kind of where we are right now. We'll have to kind of wait and see what happens."

The Lions could still opt to draft a lineman early to fill the position, too. 

Sims, who entered the NFL in 2006, has been with the Lions for the past five seasons. 


Andre Ellington OK with Cardinals drafting another running back
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) If the Cardinals decide to draft a running back in one of the higher rounds, running back Andre Ellington would be OK with it. 

Ellington was a three-down back for Arizona last year that got plenty of touches in the running and passing games. But if the Cardinals use a high pick on a running back, that could cut into Ellington's touches. 

That's something that wouldn't bother Ellington. 

“It’s whatever will better our team,” Ellington told the team's website. “That’s most important. No one is going to hate any decisions. I’m sure those guys will make the best decisions to help the team. We’ll accept any guy who comes in.”

Another quality runner could help Ellington, who dealt with numerous injuries a year ago, in the long run. His season ended last December after undergoing hernia surgery. 


Dolphins haven't decided if they'll extend Ryan Tannehill's contract
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Dolphins executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum said the club has yet to decide if it will extend quarterback Ryan Tannehill, according to the Palm Beach Post

The Dolphins could decide to pick up Tannehill's fifth-year option and wait on an extension. The deadline for doing so is May 3. Doing that would cost the Dolphins $15 million for the 2016 season. 

Previously, NFL.com reported that the Dolphins were hopeful that they could strike a long-term deal with Tannehill before Week 1 of the 2015 season. 

In 2014, Tannehill threw for 4,045 yards with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.


 
 
 
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